Chicago Bears Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech – Round 1
The Bears had to improve their secondary over the offseason and landed an instinctive defender in Fuller via the 2014 NFL Draft. The rookie is versatile enough to play safety or cornerback, so he should find a way to help Chicago immediately.

Fuller is a good man-cover corner who can play press-man, off-man and zone. He was a mainstay in the lineup since showing up at Virginia Tech. As a senior in 2013, Fuller totaled 24 tackles with two interceptions and 10 passes broken up. Being banged up late in the year kept his numbers down, but his tape was phenomenal. He was a real weapon in 2013 for a superb Virginia Tech defense. The senior was all over the field against Alabama and versus Georgia Tech, Fuller blew up the Yellow Jackets’ option runs by lining up over the center and darting into the backfield. Fuller is a natural football player who has great instincts.

In 2014, Fuller can play safety and slot cornerback. He also gives the Bears excellent depth if one of their veterans are injured. In the long term, Fuller should be a good starter on the outside to take the place of Charles Tillman or Tim Jennings. Chicago’s cornerbacks are aging, so having Fuller around to learn from them before replacing them was a good plan by the organization’s front office and coaching staff. As long as Fuller doesn’t get hit with repeated injuries, he should develop into at least a solid starter.

Most Likely To Bust

Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona – Round 4
This was a hard choice because I think the Bears had a very good draft class. Many have criticized picking Ego Ferguson in the second round, but those that watched a lot of the SEC last year saw Ferguson was one of the most disruptive interior defensive linemen in the conference. The player who may have the most bust potential is Carey as off-the-field issues could derail his career.

Carey was a very productive runner for Arizona across the past two seasons. In 2013, he averaged 5.4 yards per carry on the year for 1,885 yards and 19 touchdowns. Carey also caught 26 passes for 173 yards and a score. He took college football by storm in 2012 as he led the nation in rushing with 1,929 yards and an average of 6.4 yards per carry. Carey scored 23 touchdowns on the ground. He hauled in 36 receptions for 303 yards and a score, too. The 5-foot-9, 207-pounder is quick, but not fast, and is a slashing runner with good receiving skills.

Carey’s receiving ability makes him a logical fit for Marc Trestman’s offense as a backup to Matt Forte. Carey doesn’t look like he has the size and speed to be a starting running back in the NFL. He also has significant off-the-field character concerns according to league sources, and there were teams that removed him from their draft boards as a result. Our sources feel Carey’s off-the-field problems could lead to him being a bust.

Potential Boom Pick

Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State – Round 3
If Will Sutton had skipped his senior year and entered the 2013 NFL Draft, he could easily have been a first-round pick. As a junior, Sutton was one of the nation’s best pass-rushers, recording 13 sacks. He also had 63 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, five passes broken up and three forced fumbles that year. Sutton spent his breakout 2012 in the 280s and presented a real speed mismatch against guards with hi ability to fire by them to collapse the pocket.

Sutton was advised to gain weight for his senior year and played around 315 pounds. The extra pounds caused him to lose his explosiveness and pursuit speed. He had a disappointing senior season with 48 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks, but Sutton was still awarded the 2013 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award.

While Sutton was undersized as a junior, he was basically the same size as Aaron Donald, and Donald ended up being a top-15 pick. The latter is put together much better with a lot more muscle and definition, but both players are dynamic interior pass-rushers; those are a tough commodity to find for NFL teams.

The Bears need some long-term starters at tackle, plus Sutton is a great fit for Mel Tucker. Sutton gives Chicago a speedy interior pass-rusher. With Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston getting the focus of offensive lines, it wouldn’t surprise me if Sutton makes some noise as a rookie. If he can maintain his weight in the 280s and return to his 2013 form, Sutton has the potential to be a boom pick as an interior pass-rusher.

Future Depth Player

David Fales, QB, San Jose State – Round 6
The Bears got great backup play out of Josh McCown in 2013, and that led to Tampa Bay signing McCown to be its starter. Chicago made the right decision to sign Jay Cutler to a long-term contract, but the franchise still needed a backup quarterback. Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen are just journeyman who don’t have the talent to close out games or start for a stretch effectively.

Fales is a good fit for Marc Trestman’s offense and could develop into a quality backup. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder fits well in a West Coast offense since he can throw accurately in the short to intermediate portion of the field. Fales doesn’t have the skill set to be a starter, but he could be a quality backup who can come in to help win a game or fill in for a few games while keeping the team competitive. It shouldn’t be long before Fales is Chicago’s game-day backup.

Walt’s 2014 NFL Draft Grades:

14. Kyle Fuller, CB/S, Virginia Tech: B+ Grade
Everyone on ESPN is saying that the Bears landed a talented cornerback, but I’m not so sure Kyle Fuller plays corner. I’ve heard they like him as a safety. He does fit what Phil Emery looks for in defenders, and that’s why I had him selecting Fuller in my mock. There’s no doubt that he fills a big need, and he was undoubtedly one of the better players on the board.

51. Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU: C- Grade
I don’t think this is as much of a reach as Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are making it out to be. I had him in the third round though, so the Bears are still taking him too early. Ego Ferguson fills a need, but Chicago could have waited on him and chosen another (better) defender who could help them against Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.

82. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State: B+ Grade
This Chicago defensive tackle pick is not a reach. Will Sutton was seen as a potential first-round prospect entering the 2013 season, but he struggled mightily this past fall. If Sutton can lose the bad weight he put on, he could regain his great pass-rushing ability, which will obviously come in handy against Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.

117. Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona: B- Grade
I thought the Bears would pick a running back, but I figured it would be later, given all of their issues on defense. Ka’Deem Carey fits the range and fills a need as depth behind Matt Forte. He’s also a good match for Marc Trestman’s offense, but Chicago should have addressed the other side of the ball.

131. Brock Vereen, S, Minnesota: A- Grade
No surprise that the Bears are picking a defensive back. They traded up into this slot, but it’s worth it because Brock Vereen is a minor steal. Vereen was projected by some to be a third-round pick, so this is a nice value selection.

183. David Fales, QB, San Jose State: B Grade
Phil Emery is a liar. He told the media that he didn’t see the point in drafting quarterbacks late because they seldom panned out. I don’t mind this pick though because David Fales could have gone earlier. Chicago needed a backup quarterback.

191. Pat O’Donnell, P, Miami: C- Grade
I’ll never give a good grade for a punter because they can be signed off the street. Unless a punter comes along who can blast the ball 80 yards every single time, I’ll never go higher than a C.

246. Charles Leno, OT/G, Boise State: A- Grade
The Bears love picking players who can play multiple positions. That applies to Charles Leno, who can be used at tackle and guard. He probably should have gone in Rounds 5-6, so this is a nice value pick.

2014 NFL Draft Team Grade: B- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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